What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Coonhound Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
There are a number of coonhound breeds, the most popular being the Black and Tan Coonhound, Bluetick Coonhound, Redbone Coonhound, Plott Hound, and Treeing Walker Coonhound.
These dogs are first and fundamentally working dogs -- they hunt large and small game. Though good-natured and easygoing, these hardy hounds are so in need of hard physical exercise that they belong with an owner who will take them hunting, jogging, biking, hiking, and/or swimming.
The problem is that unless well-trained for hunting, coonhounds must not be let off-leash, because they are inveterate explorers who will follow their nose over hill, over dale, through the woods -- and onto the highway.
When well-exercised, coonhounds are calm and undemanding dogs, apt to sprawl and snore in front of the fire. Without exercise, on the other hand, a coonhound can be a rambunctious handful.
Coonhounds get along very well with other dogs, though some can be dominant and pushy as they test each other for favorable positions in the pecking order.
Befitting their predator ancestry, coonhounds may stalk smaller pets, though they typically get along fine with the family cat (as long as he doesn't run!).
It is in a coonhound's nature to constantly figure out ways to outwit his prey, so he often does the same with people. In other words, following commands blindly is not part of a coonhound's genetic makeup. Put yet another way....coonhounds can be very stubborn! Consistent leadership is a must, and obedience training must be upbeat and persuasive (include food rewards).
If you want a dog who...
- Is medium to large and about as athletic as you can get!
- Has a short easy-care coat
- Is energetic and loves to hunt and work outdoors
- When well-exercised, is easygoing and laid-back indoors
- Is good-natured with people and other dogs
A Coonhound may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Vigorous exercise requirements
- Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young
- Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
- Strong instincts to chase other living creatures that run
- "Selective deafness" whenever his tremendous nose and exploratory instincts send him running after adventure
- LOUD baying
- Shedding and a houndy odor
A Coonhound may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Coonhound
If I was considering a Coonhound, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Coonhounds MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by baying and destructive chewing. Bored Coonhounds are famous for chewing through drywall, ripping the stuffing out of sofas, and turning your yard into a moonscape of giant craters.
If you simply want a casual pet for your family, and don't have the time or inclination to take your dog hunting or running or hiking or biking or swimming, I do not recommend these breeds. Coonhounds were never intended to be simply household pets. Their working behaviors (sniffing scents, chasing things that run, exploring, baying) can be a nuisance in a normal household setting. Trying to suppress these "hardwired" behaviors, without providing alternate outlets for their high energy level, can be difficult.
- Bounciness. Young Coonhounds (up to about two years old) romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including people.
- Chasing smaller animals. Coonhounds obviously have strong instincts to chase small fleeing creatures.
- Fence security." To keep your Coonhound in, fences should be high, with wire sunk into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging.
Coonhounds cannot be trusted off leash, unless they are being worked in a pack in the woods and there are experienced dogs who will show the younger ones how to return to the hunter. A single Coonhound allowed off-fleash will take off -- oblivious to your frantic shouts -- after anything that emits an odor or runs.
- Stubbornness. Coonhounds are not Golden Retrievers. They are independent thinkers who don't particularly care about pleasing you. Most Coonhounds are very stubborn and can be manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your coonhound to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Coonhound Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Noise. Coonhounds should never be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. Their deep voice is extremely LOUD and carries a LONG way. Their baying will have your neighbors calling the cops to report the nuisance -- or quietly letting your Coonhound out of his yard so he'll wander away.
- Shedding and houndy odor. Coonhounds shed more than you might think. Their short, coarse hairs come off on your hands when you pet them, and stick tenaciously to your upholstery and clothing. Also note that Coonhounds have a distinctive "doggy" odor to their skin and coat that some people find offensive.
To learn more about training Coonhounds to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Coonhound the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Coonhound. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Coonhound might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Coonhound home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Coonhound...
When you're acquiring a Coonhound PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Coonhounds who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
MORE OF MY ARTICLES YOU MIGHT ENJOY.....
What Works, and What Doesn't
|Puppy Training Schedule: What To Teach, and When|
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For Your Dog
|Teach Your Dog Words|
|The Second Best Food For Your Dog||When Buying a Dog, Are AKC Papers Really Necessary?|
Copyright © 2000-2015 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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